The video piece Work Velocity depicts a steam engine governor, the part of the engine that regulates the speed. When the engine picks up speed, the heavy balls of the governor are forced outward, which slows the engine down, and in turn causing the balls to drop back down. The video is edited to show the the endless repetition of the balls of the governor slowly moving out, then back in again. This function, which once had profound importance, now serves as a demonstration. In the early mills, every machine would have been connected to one source of power through a series of connecting drive shafting and belt systems, the rate of production of every part of the manufacturing process was dependent on the speed of the engine. But the steam engine depicted in the video is now in a museum – the ‘work’ has become a commodity. The engine’s speeds controls no work, except possibly the artist’s, who tries to make it perform, making it slow down then speed up in order to get the shot, the ‘work’.
Trying to Hit the Video Camera with a Ping Pong Ball is a one-shot, ten minute long looped film of a white wall. The white wall is regularly interceded by a number of ping pong balls which sometimes fly straight through the shot and sometimes bounce off the lens of the camera. Intermittently there is the sound of someone walking around the large echoey space picking up the balls, only to re-start the unavailing activity of once again throwing them at the camera.
Work Done explores the concept of ‘work’. 160 joules of work was put into this piece to overcome gravity and lift the ‘block of art’ from the floor to its current position.
Work Done (160 Joules)
Work Done (160 Joules), installation view Piccadilly Place
In July 2012 I was artist in residence at Leamington Spa Oxfam bookshop for one week. For every day that I was there I attempted to learn a new skill based on the books available in the shop.
Day one: ‘How to do Calligraphy’
Day two: ‘How to Make and Fly Paper Aircraft’
Day three: ‘How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords’
Day four: ‘How to make a Matchstick Model’
Day five: ‘How to Deal with Difficult People’
Defying Entropy Attempt #3 is a video piece I made on day four:
Productivity Sticks, detail
Productivity Sticks, installation view, Neo Artists
Productivity Sticks, installation view, Octagon Gallery, Dresden
Productivity Sticks are a 3D representation of data I collected for 22 days. I used a combination of software and detailed notes to draw graphs which documented my productivity. I then began to convert these 2D graphs into 3D graphs. For this task I learnt how to turn wood on a lathe. The sticks get wider for more productive hours and are narrow for unproductive time. The productive time I was recording soon became the productive task of making the sticks themselves. I ended the project at the point when I became efficient enough to catch up with myself and was turning the 3D stick documenting that very day; I stopped turning when I reached the moment of ‘now’.